Litigators who have gone in-house, how’d you do it?

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At my company we have 3 litigators. Head of litigation was a partner at a midsize firm and recruited to come here. The junior litigation attorneys both applied to our open job postings. One had previously worked for us as outside counsel.

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My litigator friends who have gone in house have all just applied for open positions.

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Be open to a non litigation role. I think smaller companies are reluctant to hire litigators for non litigation roles, but larger ones with robust legal departments (like my employer) are open to it cause they can train you. My boss at least has the attitude that smart people are trainable so lack of transactional experience was not a barrier. I don’t really have advice if you are dead set on an in house litigation role. I think it’s true those are few and far between. I have close friends from top notch lit shops who took around 2 years to find in house lit roles.

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OP, I don’t think more years in your current position is bad. Having more experience, even in lit, will only help you go in house at a higher level and with more pay. As a benchmark, I went in house 7 years after law school. My colleagues came here after a range of 3-10 years at a law firm. Median is probably like 5.

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In between stints at two law firms (1 big law, 1 regional firm), I spent 4 years as a state prosecutor. The investigative experience set me apart when I interviewed for an in house role with a large internal investigation component. Depending on where you are in your career, you might want to think about doing something outside of a law firm to make yourself more marketable (e.g., state or federal government). There are roles at companies outside of the traditional “litigation manager” and “corporate counsel” archetype. Good luck!

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Either get non-lit training or be willing to apply for a more junior role.

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